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Pershing Square Raises Its UMG Stake

Pershing Square Holdings Ltd. is taking a larger stake in Santa Monica-based Universal Music Group.

UMG’s parent company, French conglomerate Vivendi, announced Aug. 31 that Bill Ackman’s investment firm acquired another 2.9% of the company’s share capital for $1.15 billion.

Earlier in August, Pershing Square acquired 7.1% of UMG for $2.8 billion. With the latest transaction, the New York-based hedge fund manager will own 10% of the world’s biggest record label.

UMG’s labels and brands include Decca Records, Def Jam Recordings, and Virgin Music, and its roster of artists includes Kendrick Lamar, Taylor Swift and Justin Bieber. The deal comes ahead of UMG’s plan to go public in September, at which point Vivendi will distribute 60% of the company’s stock to shareholders.

Ackman first announced plans to become a long-term investor in UMG in June through a special purpose acquisition company but withdrew after the Securities and Exchange Commission raised questions about the complexity of the deal.

Ackman remains bullish about the financial opportunities the acquisition will generate for his firm. 

Todd Gilchrist
Todd Gilchrist
Todd Gilchrist is a Los Angeles-based reporter and film critic with 20+ years of experience at dozens of print and online outlets, including Variety, The Hollywood Reporter, Entertainment Weekly and Fangoria. An obsessive soundtrack collector, sneaker aficionado and member of the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, Todd currently lives in Silverlake, California with his amazing wife Julie, two cats Beatrix and Biscuit, and several thousand books, vinyl records and Blu-rays.

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